Human Beings by Adrian Mitchell

Human Beings

look at your hands
  your beautiful useful hands
       you’re not an ape
    you’re not a parrot
  you’re not a slow loris
    or a smart missile
       you’re human
       not british
    not american
      not israeli
  not palestinian
    you’re human
     not catholic
  not protestant
    not muslim
       not hindu
  you’re human
  we all start human
    we end up human
       human first
          human last
      we’re human
    or we’re nothing
  nothing but bombs
     and poison gas
  nothing but guns
     and torturers
  nothing but slaves
  of Greed and War
  if we’re not human
           look at your body
  with its amazing systems
  of nerve-wires and blood canals
     think about your mind
   which can think about itself
  and the whole universe
           look at your face
   which can freeze into horror
           or melt into love
     look at all that life
           all that beauty
           you’re human
     they are human
     we are human
  let’s try to be human

Adrian Mitchell

To learn more about Adrian Mitchell, please click here to visit his homepage.

I discovered this beautiful poem in the anthology Being Human, edited by Neil Astley. On National Poetry Day in 2005 over a thousand people voted this the poem to send into space to best represent humanity.

I have greatly enjoyed the two previous books in this trilogy (STAYING ALIVE and BEING ALIVE) and would recommend to anyone who loves poetry, who likes poetry but can’t figure out where to find ‘the good stuff’ or who has never read a poem in their life before!

Each book focuses on celebrating the human experience, using the rather fabulous tag line – UNREAL POEMS FOR UNREAL TIMES.



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